Corporations make decisions for all sorts of reasons. You will not benefit from all of them. And because of that it’s important that you manage your career and your life rather than hope that someone else will manage it well for you.
Some corporate decisions, like Pfizer’s plug-pulling of its development of a major biotech center in San Francisco change with other events, such as their purchase of Wyeth. Sometimes the decision, as in the case of Barclays PLC using “crown jewel” San Francisco-headquartered Barclays Global Investors to raise cash by selling the unit to BlackRock to meet needed capital levels – is because a company is too valuable at the wrong time. And sometimes, as in the case of my favorite printing vendor Speedway Digital Printing , 50% of the staff goes away because the business during this recession will just support the 50% that are left.
And in each case, jobs that are there will be gone, or jobs that might have been there, will never exist. Ex-GE CEO Jack Welch had a mantra of “Control your own destiny or someone else will. ” That mantra applies not just to companies, but to you, too. And as noted elsewhere, work life for most people – you, for example – increasingly looks like a series of temporary jobs if you work for a company, and not for yourself.
Why is this important?
People who do better at the job world are people who actively manage their work and careers because they take the opportunities to put themselves in positions to be successful.
It’s likely that they’re no better or worse than you: it is likely that they get more chances. As noted in research on “clutch players” in basketball, they’re not better in crunch time; they just get more chances.
What Can You Do?
Make sure you have the basics covered:
- Do you know what makes you unique and how and where you can best leverage your skills, background and personality?
- Have you developed a real career network – not just some passing e-mail exchanges with people asking them to ping you if they come across as job – but with people who you really know who can help you – and who you can help?
- Do you take care of yourself? Do you work hard at your job but also work hard at the things that keep you valuable for any employer and for yourself? Do you take personal care of yourself – such as time for yourself and family, time to workout, and time to eat right?
- Do you have a system that’s current – call it a contact database (Excel spreadsheet, Outlook, Filemaker file) for lack of a better name – that lets you access the people resources that help you shortcut problems and get better solutions to career opportunities faster?
All of these things are the type of behaviors of someone who is managing their career and life well: while it may be within a company like BlackRock or Pfizer now, these people have the tools to move to other work when needed.
Doing well with this work is about taking care of you. The other choice, about hoping that your company or your boss will take care of you, is about compromising your career management effectiveness.
And as Janis Joplin said, “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”